Friday 6 August 2010
Josh Vearing is one of those footballers who is like a fine wine – he keeps on getting better with age.
The 27-year-old celebrates his 150th game for Mt Gravatt when they host the Brisbane Lions at Dittmer Park on Sunday and he does so in the prime of his career.
The skilful running defender with the laser-like right foot has been one of the elite players in the QAFL since 2007, the year he shared the Syd Guildford Trophy with teammate Ash Evans and finished runner-up in the Grogan Medal.
Vearing made a blistering start to 2010 despite his team being belted early and was leading the Syd Guildford count again until an untimely broken wrist in Round 6 robbed him of five matches.
“I think I’ve definitely improved as it has gone on,” Vearing said of a senior career that began in 2000. “From ’07 onwards I’ve been pretty happy with my contributions.”
A Mt Gravatt junior, he debuted as a 17-year-old under former Carlton great Wayne Johnston and played in a premiership in his third season with Danny Craven at the helm.
Vearing has gone on to enjoy plenty more success, playing in four QAFL grand finals and winning two premierships. The grand final wins stand out in his mind far more vividly than any great individual game that he has played.
“The big ones were ‘02 and ’07. They were special games,” he said. “I was only 19 in 2002 and played with some really good players – Robert Scott, Tony Lynn, Nathan Chapman, and Ben Hudson.
“We had a really good senior crew that basically showed us the way.”
Vearing is now one of the senior players in a very good side and has impressed Vultures officials with his leadership qualities after being appointed co-captain alongside Nathan Gilliland this season.
He has even sampled coaching with the State junior program.
“I helped out with the midfield with the (Western) Taipans this year with Ray Windsor and a couple of the other guys,” Vearing said.
“Coaching is definitely something that’s an option but juggling the commitments involved with having a young family, I’ll wait until I finish my playing career and have a look at it then.”
There is still plenty of mileage left in Vearing the player, who becomes just the fourth Vulture to reach 150 State League games behind Mark Edwards, Gareth Dosser and Tobi Spencer.
“There haven’t been a great deal of blokes get to 150 and ‘Eddie’ is the only bloke to have got to 200, so it’s nice to get there,” Vearing said. “Any game at home is always a good one to celebrate a milestone and I’m looking forward to it.
“At the end of the day it’s just another game we have to win and consolidate after such a good performance last weekend.”
Indeed, Mt Gravatt are playing the equal or better of any side in the competition at present, although Vearing is not getting carried away with their form.
“It’s a bit different compared to ’07 and last year – we haven’t played a whole lot of footy with each other,” he said. “We’ve got a good mix and youth and experience.
“We’re probably at an earlier stage of where we were (in the grand final years), but hopefully we can keep all together. The more games we play as a group and have not too many changes the better cohesion we’re going to have.”
The Vultures were certainly cohesive against reigning premiers Morningside last Saturday, running away to a comfortable win in the finish.
“ There is a belief in the team,” Vearing admitted. “We had a lot to play for (last week) after what the club has been through.
“It was a highly emotional game and we were really happy to have a win for the Reid family and footy club in general.”
There was plenty of feeling between the two sides.
“Every game against Morningside is big,” Vearing agreed. “It’s quite ironic that both my losses in grand finals have been to Morningside and both wins have been against Southport. They (Morningside) are always strong and cross- town rivals, so we like to get over the top of them.”